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Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop

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Mother: An Unconventional History with Sarah Knott

Thursday, May 16 2019
19:30 - 20:30
Sarah Knott
location: Lighthouse

Book places here.

What was mothering like in the past? Historic accounts of motherhood are hard to find - For centuries, historians have concerned themselves with wars, politics and revolutions, not the everyday details of carrying and caring for a baby. Much to do with becoming a mother, past or present, is lost or forgotten.

As part of Feminist Book Fortnight we are thrilled that acclaimed historian Sarah Knott joins us to unpack this fascinating question!

Using the arc of her own experience, from miscarriage to the birth and early babyhood of her two children, Sarah Knott explores the ever-changing habits and experiences of motherhood across the ages. Drawing on a disparate collection of fascinating material - interrupted letters, hastily written diary entries, a line from a court record or a figure in a painting - Mother vividly brings to life the lost stories of ordinary women.

From the labour pains felt by a South Carolina field slave to the triumphant smile of a royal mistress pregnant with a king’s first son; from a 1950s suburban housewife to a working-class East Ender taking her baby to the factory; from a pioneer with eight children to a 1970s feminist debating whether to have any; these remarkable tales of mothering create a moving depiction of an endlessly various human experience.


Sarah Knott is professor of history at Indiana University and a fellow of the Kinsey Institute. She is the author of Sensibility and the American Revolution and numerous articles on the histories of women, gender, and emotion. Knott has served as an editor of the American Historical Review, the American Historical Association’s flagship journal, and sits on the editorial board of Past and Present.


Remember you can buy your tickets in the shop & save yourself the eventbrite booking fee :P

The bookshop is wheelchair accessible, events are seated and speakers use microphones throughout their events. We have further details about accessibility HERE, or feel free to get in touch, we’re happy to help however we can!

The Bookshop operates a Safe Space Policy which all guests and speakers are asked to respect - you can read it HERE.

As ever we have 15 free tickets available for this event! These are intended to make the evening accessible to those who are unwaged/ on benefits/ might not otherwise be able to attend - If you can afford a £3 ticket please book one as this supports the bookshop and allows us to save free places for those who can’t, thanks!


Book places here.